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Israel spied on cell phones near White House – media report

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Israel has planted spy devices to intercept cellular communications in the area around the White House in Washington, a report strongly denied by the Jewish state.

US officials believe Israelis have probably planted several Sting Ray devices discovered in Washington in 2017, imitating cell tower signals to intercept calls and text messages, according to Politico.

Former security officials told the site that forensic analysis by the FBI and other agencies had linked the services to Israelis.

“It is likely that the devices are intended to spy on President Donald Trump, according to a former official, as well as senior aides and associates of him.

Washington’s ally Israel has issued a categorical denial.

“Israel is not carrying out any espionage missions in the United States,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said.

“The United States and Israel share a lot of intelligence and work together to prevent threats and enhance the security of both countries,” he said.

Stingray is able to monitor and track cellular communications as they interact with networks, and police use them in criminal investigations to intercept suspects’ communications, but they have been controversial for use without warrants.

Two years ago, an unknown number of such devices were discovered in Washington during a Department of Homeland Security test to investigate the threat they pose.

The discoveries included “locations close to critical facilities such as the White House,” according to a State Department letter to Senator Ron Wyden in May 2018.

But those who planted the devices, potentially useful for monitoring Trump, who is known to use an unsafe cell phone for communications and messages, were not identified.

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